Genesis 1:1. That is where we start when beginning a Bible study for a new church plant, and then we slowly build on those verses. For those who have never been taught the Scriptures before, the most basic Sunday School stories are foreign to them, so we spend quite a bit of time in Genesis making sure the foundation that we are laying is well understood. I love the questions that they ask as they start to grasp more and more of what Scripture says.
This is a picture that I snagged of my translator, Joel, taking praying requests after I finished teaching on the six days of creation.
The second week that we were out there, I explained to those in attendance how they could get a Bible. We give them a John and Romans and then ask them to memorize John 3:1-18 and recite it at church in order to get a complete Bible for free. I was so encouraged the following week when a teenage boy approached me before we started the service and wanted to quote the 18 verses. When he finished, the teenage boy next to him wanted to do the same. And when he had finished reciting, a third teenage boy quoted the verses as well!
As we are currently meeting in the elementary school, we have a lot of young kids coming to church on Sunday to the same place they come to school during the week. This youngin is not old enough for school yet, but has been wandering around the school area during our Bible study too.
His “necklace” seems cool at first, until you realize that it is a fetish, removed after an animal sacrifice and put around the child’s neck as a form of physical and spiritual protection. Oh, that these people would understand the one perfect and all sufficient sacrifice that Christ made for us and abandon these voodoo practices.
If I would have titled his post, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, the “good” would have been new visitors to church and the teenage boys memorizing large parts of Scripture in order to get a Bible. The “bad” would have been how children are learning about fetishes as young as they learn to walk. The “ugly” would have to be what happened last Saturday in the city of Niamtougou, the last city that we pass through on the way to our village church plant.
A missionary friend of mine gave me a call early Saturday morning telling me to avoid passing through that city as we normally do on our way out to the village. As he began to drive through the city on his moto, he quickly turned around as he saw a mob of angry people with machetes coming in his direction. (btw – that’s always a good time to turn around and head home).
Apparently, a local philosophy professor was arrested, jailed and charged with “acts of violence against security forces” for trying to cross the road as the presidential motorcade was passing by. The local people were none to happy with his jailing and decided to violently protest it. They did as much damage as possible to both the police station and the vehicles outside as they clashed with the police.
So what do we pray for here?
1. That God would allow us to reach more and more people in this village with the gospel and that He would give us wisdom as we strategize the best way to do that.
2. That God would deliver both the young and old from the darkness of their fetishes and shine the light of the glory of Christ in their hearts.
3. That Togo would remain a peaceful place in which to live and minister.
We are humbled and encouraged by the many that pray for both our family and the ministry here. Please know our gratitude for every prayer offered up on our behalf.